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Ecocide: Should Killing Nature Be A Crime?

Author: Sophie Yeo

Affiliation: Freelance Journalist

Organization/Publisher: BBC 

Date/Place: November 6, 2020/UK

Type of Literature: Analysis

Word Count: 1698


Keywords: Climate, Ecocide, Crime


Climate activists like Greta Thunberg are demanding to include the crime of Ecocide—literal definition: killing the environment—in the book of International Criminal Law. Small islands like Vanuatu have been trying to persuade the powerful nations to voluntarily reduce the amount of emissions, because this nation is severely threatened by rising sea levels. International processes, like the Paris Agreement, allow countries to set their own emissions reduction targets. According to ecocide campaigners, adding ecocide as the fifth crime to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court would make perpetrators of environmental destruction suddenly liable to arrest, prosecution, and imprisonment. Moreover, campaigners also believe that ecocide should be applied to serious harms like oil spills, deep sea mining, industrial livestock farming, and tar sand extraction. Emmanuel Macron, the French President, has become one of ecocide’s highest profile supporters. More than 99% of French citizens voted in favour of recognizing ecocide as a crime. Pope Francis has also called for ecocide to be recognized as a crime by the international community and Greta Thunberg has backed the cause too by donating around 90,000 Euros from her personal prize winnings to the cause. 

By: Saima Rashid, CIGA Research Assistant



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